A Poem for Your Monday

compass

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
‘The breath goes now,’ and some say, ‘No:’

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

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Shakespeare and Marlowe

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Christopher Marlowe Officially Credited as Co-Author of 3 Shakespeare Plays

A few days ago, the Oxford University Press announced that they would be officially attributing co-authorship status to Christopher Marlowe, one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, on three parts of Henry VI. Once again, the debate over the Bard’s authorship has reentered the field of academic debate.

Now, the stamp of the Oxford University Press does not settle the debate by any means, and their method for coming to this conclusion strikes me as dubious. The decision to grant this co-authorship was based on a scanning of the verse and examining the frequency and usage of certain words and phrases, and many words that are common to Marlowe’s writing showed up in these three plays. This is inconclusive data, but it does make plausible the debate over Shakespeare’s authorship over these plays (although keep all of your conspiracy theories about “who Shakespeare was” out).

Even though I do not agree with the conclusion, I do think this a valuable conversation to be had; the more we are prodded to dig back into the texts of classical geniuses such as Shakespeare and Marlowe and further analyze them, the better off we are. The Bard’s power says alive so long as we study him, and attempting to find the truth in these works simply brings them back out to the center stage that they so rightly deserve to be on. I may not personally agree with the statement by the OUP, nor do I necessarily think the question of authorship is necessarily important, as the texts stand on their own, the more conversations and discussions and conscious thought we put towards our artistic and literary history, the better.

A Poem for Your Monday


When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

By Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Image courtesy of http://acerminaro.blogspot.com/2013/08/when-i-heard-learnd-astronomer.html?m=1

Back to Middle Earth Again!

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https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/19/jrr-tolkiens-middle-earth-love-story-published-beren-and-luthien

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has made my entire summer (I am easy to please). This upcoming May, I get to travel back to Middle Earth once again (as if I hadn’t spent far too much time there already, some might say) with the complete curated text of the tale of Beren and Lúthien, a story originating in the Silmarillion that was probably the closest to Tolkien’s heart in the entire legendarium, and shows in the beauty of the product. Edited by Christopher Tolkien and illustrated by Alan Lee; that makes this a must buy for me. But of course, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t say no to Tolkien regardless, as my bookshelf can also attest. The tales of Middle Earth are some of the stories that I hold dearest in my life, and I don’t see that ever changing. I am ecstatic to be able to travel there and back once again. Continue reading

Who Gets to Write What?

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A couple weeks ago, I read this opinion piece in the New York Times of the same title as this blog post. It touches on an issue within writing, and art in general, in which I have a hard time grappling with, particularly because of my position in society; as a white, heterosexual male in Midwest America, what right do I, or any other writer, have to write about other lives outside my own existence?

Now, my gut tells me that writers should be able to write on whatever topic they want. I personally believe that the power of literature lies in the universal, that the greatest writing goes beyond the universal and taps into a universal humanity. Shakespeare holds the mirror up to nature, not merely the white male class that he exists in, as do countless other titans of literature, and this is the effect that art can achieve. I believe in the transcendent power of art. Continue reading

A Poem for Your Monday

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Ode to a Nightingale

By John Keats,

 

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
         But being too happy in thine happiness,—
                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
                        In some melodious plot
         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
                Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
         Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
                        And purple-stained mouth;
         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
                And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
         What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
                        And leaden-eyed despairs,
         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

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Modern Sensibilities

metaphysical-poets

As is always the case, the passage of time marks changes in thought and philosophy. Usually, one cannot say whether they are progressive or regressive, for the better or the worse, they just have to make an opinion for themselves. In the case of T. S. Eliot, one change that he felt had occurred, for the worse, between the days of the Renaissance and the world of modernism was that of a change in sensibilities in writers. In his essay titled The Metaphysical Poets, Eliot laments a separation of “thinking” and “feeling” within poetry that did not use to exist; previously, poets were able to wholly absorb and express experiences without having to separate the two. Continue reading

Bob Dylan, the Nobel, and Literature

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Yesterday morning, at approximately 5:00 am, I received a news notification on my phone. Upon reading that notification, I promptly went back to sleep. Much to my surprise, when I again awoke, I had not in fact been dreaming; Bob Dylan had just won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Now, my initial reaction was knee-jerk confusion and even anger. After having cooled off and coming around to a much more reasonable opinion on this, I do still harbor some resentment at this selection for the most prestigious award in the field of literature being awarded to an artist whose impact on literature itself has not been terribly profound, who was the first American selected since Toni Morrison in 1993 over the likes of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, and Cormac McCarthy, and who was deemed to deserve the award more than the likes of international genius’ of literature such as Haruki Murakami of Japan, Adonis of Syria, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o of Kenya, to name a few. I obviously still do not agree.

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A Poem for Your Monday

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage [There is a pleasure in the pathless woods]

By George Gordon Byron

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean–roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin–his control
Stops with the shore;–upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,–thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,–thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: —there let him lay.

 

Image: Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1823